Monday, September 14, 2020

Back in 1963, The Times visited Mojácar



Aerial photo of Mojácar from 1961

Someone found an old press clipping from The Times, dated July 20th 1963. The article is called 'Beyond Spain's Tourist Villa Belt' and has this to say about Mojácar:

...This is Mojácar, of Moorish origin, whose flat-roofed whitewashed houses had fallen into a state of almost derelict disrepair and depopulation, but has been "rescued" by an influx of foreigners whose villa-building (of necessity in the local style) has provided work. Above the tiny plaza, cobbled lanes so narrow that one can almost touch both sides form a maze through houses, some solid, some just heaps of rubble - which is sorted over and used again for building. Two newly built hotels mark Mojácar's bid for a running in the tourist stakes...'.

When the Mojaqueros left the village in search of a better life, moving away to Barcelona, Lyon, Marseilles, Frankfurt and, above all, to Argentina, they sold what little they had to pay for the trip. They couldn't sell their homes because there was no demand for them, so they simply dismantled them - selling the beams, the doors, the rejas and the tiles for whatever small price they would make. Mojácar's population had plummeted to around 600 souls - half of whom lived in Sopalmo, Las Alparatas or the rich fields and orchards below the fuente

The old mayor Jacinto liked to say that in the late fifties there was so many piles of rubble strewn about the abandoned village that no one was even sure where the streets went.  But then the forasteros (outsiders) with their full purses came and things improved. Later, many Mojaqueros returned too...